20 July 2009

Klaus Mosegaard receives large grant for oil project

Geophysicist Klaus Mosegaard has received a grant of 5.3 million kroner from the Danish Research Council for Technology and Production Sciences (FTP) and 1 million kroner from DONG Energy & Production for a research project, which will create a marked improvement in oil extraction. The project is a collaboration with DTU Chemical Engineering.

Danish oil production will fall by 80 percent by 2040, predicts even the most optimistic prognoses and this can only be remedied with a completely new technological effort. According to the prognoses, more than 70 percent of the oil would otherwise be left in the reservoir. The new project creates the foundation for a marked improvement in the possibilities for optimising oil production.

There are two very demanding calculation processes, namely Seismic Inversion and History Matching, which an improvement in oil extraction depends entirely on. Seismic inversion is used to calculate the geological structure of the oil reservoir. This is done by measuring the seismic waves from the subsurface, which are reflected from explosions, which are artificially generated on the surface. History matching is used to find the physical properties of the reservoir, which can explain the generation of pressure and oil-, gas- and water production in the individual production wells. 

By combining Seismic Inversion and History Matching a considerably better picture of the structure of the oil reservoir and the location of the remaining oil would be obtained and would secure maximum extraction, reads the objective of the project, and with the discovery of an interesting property of the seismic data, this goal could be within reach. It appears that almost all information about the structure of the oil reservoir and its storage capacity lies in a very limited portion of the seismic data. This makes possible a super fast and accurate calculation of the relevant properties and makes it so that the calculation could be integrated into a new, effective History Matching technology.

 ”Today you only extract 30 percent of the oil and if you can increase the production by just a few percent it would mean an enormous gain", explains Klaus Mosegaard. The grants for the three-year research project mean that three new positions, a post doc and a PhD position will be established at the Niels Bohr Institute as well as a PhD position at DTU.